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GWR wagon to go on show

Created on 17/12/2016 @ 07:45
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The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is now the proud owner of a former Great Western Railway standard gauge five-plank open wagon.

The National Railway Museum has made this vehicle available as part of a rolling stock collections review.

The W&LLR intends to put the wagon on display at Welshpool Raven Square station to demonstrate the transhipment of goods that took place between the railway and the main line in pre-preservation days.

Standard gauge wagons were once common beside (although not on) the W&LLR – at the interchange with the main line at Welshpool Station, the light railway had exchange sidings over which goods were transhipped between the two railways.

The former cattle docks still exist complete with a short section of mixed-gauge track, and Welshpool Town Council is working to restore this area as a historical exhibit.

The original major reason for constructing the Welshpool & Llanfair line in 1902-03 was to connect the agricultural area surrounding Llanfair Caereinion with the important market town of Welshpool, carrying coal and other supplies up the valley and returning with livestock, timber and other agricultural products for Welshpool and other points on the main-line railway.

In a conversation with the National Railway Museum, W&LLR General Manager Charles Spencer mentioned the railway’s interest in recreating the transhipment scene at the railway’s current Welshpool terminus of Raven Square as part of the Llanfair Line’s mandate to educate the public about the railway’s history.

A transfer of ownership of former Great Western Railway wagon No. W108246, built in 1925, was arranged and the W&LLR organised transport from Shildon to Welshpool, where the wagon is to be placed on a standard gauge track panel next to a siding outside the shed in which narrow gauge heritage goods wagons are displayed.

“We are delighted to be taking responsibility for this heritage vehicle and to have the opportunity of demonstrating how the narrow-gauge railway served the rural community with a connection to the big railway”, said Charles Spencer.  “Having the wagon helps us fulfil our mandate as an educational charity to preserve and display our part of Britain’s’ railway heritage.”

“The National Railway Museum is very pleased to be working with the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and to have found such a suitable home for this wagon on a railway which was once operated by the GWR”, said Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator at the Museum.

“The W&LLR has an outstanding record for preserving and displaying heritage goods wagons, something which is paramount to the museum, allowing the public to appreciate and understand fully. The W&LLR runs transhipment demonstrations which the museum knew would interest railway enthusiasts and helped us to make the decision to entrust the wagon to them.”

The W&LLR regularly runs Vintage Weekends featuring mixed trains, including the railway’s three handsome replica Pickering carriages and heritage wagons hauled by one of the original Beyer-Peacock tank engines built for the opening of the line in 1903. Vintage steam and petrol road and farm vehicles are often on display and on the move at the Llanfair end of the line, and trans-shipment activities with the new wagon will add to the shunting and other demonstrations featured on these weekends.

Caption: W&LLR general manager Charles Spencer (right) and volunteers Dave Carmichael and Ian Sanders welcome the wagon to the railway. Photo: Andrew Charman/W&LLR

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